Skill is the key to self-reliance
Sapna Joshi is a young married woman from one of the non-descriptive villages-Salya of district Rudraprayag of State of Uttarakhand. Sapna received education up to graduation and soon after she got married to Vivek, a resident of Bachiyanshu village of adjoining district Pauri Garhwal. She led a normal married life with her husband despite his abusive nature. She was harassed all the time by her husband and his behavior became rude day by day, resorting violence several times. Over the period it became unbearable for her and she decided to approach her parents. However she was advised to continue living with her husband as her parents also made efforts to reconcile situation but to no avail. She was completely traumatized and finally she decided to leave her husband’s home. She came back, with her son, to her paternal home, for good, because of her husband’s rude and violent behavior. She filled separation case and sought divorce legally. Bearing the legal expenses and nurturing a small baby became her parents’ responsibility
Worried about her future they looked for job for her here and there, however job opportunities especially for women are rarely available in remote villages, like her, of Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. Sapna was crestfallen as she felt that she is a burden and cause of metal agony for her old aged parents. However she kept looking for job.
Sapna has been looking for some kind of training program which could have developed her employable skills. Incidentally she met Anita, The field extension staff of Appropriate Technology India (AT India) during one of training programs. She inquisitively asked her if she can join AT India program. Anita explained her that AT India in support A T India is providing the training in sericulture and beekeeping / honey production in Rudraprayag district since April 2016 and encouraged her to join the training for a period of 1-3 months. She considered all three options of taking up silk yarn, weaving and beekeeping and decided to learn handloom based silk and wool weaving. She joined the program in May 2016 and picked up weaving skills very fast. Within this short period of time she has started earning of Rs. 2000 per month. Sapna has been showingkeen interest in learning different design skills to weave quality silk and wool blended products and exhibit confidence in terms of completion of order placed by DevBhumi Producer Co. Ltd. She is ambitiously hoping to increase her income by Rs. 6000-Rs. 7000 per month by the next 3-4 month.
She is now confident to live a life on her own and says that she is determined to learn weaving and design development skills on handloom, which will be always with her and she will produce the design according to contemporary market needs to maximize her income in near terms.
Little courage is needed to bear the loss in life.
SRudraprayag is the worst affected district of all the 5 mountain districts hit by mid-June 2013 disaster, called Himalayan Tsunami. A large number of population has been affected in terms of destruction of pilgrimage based livelihood system in Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. The people of district Rudraprayag were completely dependent on seasonal pilgrimage based livelihood. Post disaster 2013 the livelihood and survival issue became prominent for several households. Appropriate Technology India (AT India) conducted a need assessment and evolved the economic rehabilitation programs. Since the 2013 disaster AT India has been developing the partnership with different partners to strengthen and enhance livelihood system for the affected people. Most recently AT India approached Oracle to extend its financial support to strengthen the honey and silk value chains. The program has been facilitating 3 honey Producer Groups to upscale the honey production in one of the affected village of Rudraprayag called Jall-Talla.
As noted above that strengthening of livelihood of the affected people is imperative in this region as the effect of mid-June 2013 disaster are still visible in the area in terms of livelihood restoration. Rukmani Devi, 54 year old, is one of the disaster affected women engaged in honey production since post disaster. She had lost her two young grandsons who used to support her financially by earning income during pilgrimage season. Though she was engaged in honey production traditionally but her income was not sufficient to support a family of two members-Herself and her husband.
She is now being supported under AT India-Oracle Silk and Honey value chain development program to upscale her production base from 12 to 25 bee colonies. The upscaling will help her to move to commercial level production of honey. She is now completely dependent on the income that comes from sale of honey. During this recent seasons she has harvested 70 Kg honey and sold it to DevBhumi Producer Company. She has earned Rs. 14000 during this season in addition to Rs. 12000 that she earned by sale of bee colonies to other producers. She has been motivating other producers in her village to enhance honey production by regularly interacting with them. Honey production is the sole sources of cash income for many women in this village now.
Rukmani Devi rebuilt the life not of her own but also the other households by showing the courage to overcome the tragedy. She says that the scares of 2013 disaster are indelible but the life needs to go on. Honey bees are our true friends for us as they are bringing succor to our life. Rukmani Devi has become a living example of other as she has shown ray of hope to several affected households and showed that a little courage is needed to bear the unbearable loss in life.